Phases of AIW

AIW provides an explicit framework for instruction and assessment that is necessary for program coherence
and strong professional community across grades and subjects. Furthermore, AIW is a teaching framework
that requires reform, as such, not every school or district is a good fit.


  • Increased student engagement
  • Renewed energy among staff
  • Authentic student performance
  • Increased student test scores
  • System-wide instructional improvement

Key Components

These components are critical for learning teams in order to successfully implement the AIW Framework.

  • Teams

    Learning teams include four to six people, and meet 4 - 6 hours every month.

  • Artifacts

    Members bring artifacts (tasks, student work, instructional) that need improvement, and take the time to score them.

  • Tools

    Teams use AIW tools, including scoring criteria booklet and protocols, as a springboard for generating ideas for consideration.

  • Skills

    Learning team members immerse themselves in their own professional learning for one year.

  • Anchors

    After one year, team members agree to serve as anchors on future learning teams.

The Multi-Phase Process

Each phase of the AIW reform work has common parameters that maximize coherence while allowing for
implementation flexibility. The Center for AIW specializes in supporting a school’s move from the pilot phase to a
fully-integrated program that is sustainable.

  • 1

    1. Explore AIW

    Skilled adults in diverse occupations and participating in civic life face the challenge of applying basic skills and knowledge to complex problems that are often novel or unique. To reach an adequate solution to new problems, the competent adult has to “construct” knowledge because these problems

    To learn more download our AIW Phases Brochure
  • 2

    2. Pilot

    Once your school decides to participate in AIW professional development, the first step is to form at least one pilot team in a school. Pilot teams have four to six members and their primary goal is simply to learn the AIW teaming process. Ideally, a pilot team includes one administrator and five teachers, who are from at least two disciplines and grade levels. By breaking the natural teams, such as grade levels or department, teachers feel less awkward analyzing each other’s work. Taking Risks Pilot teams meets 4-6 hours a month. Each meeting focuses on one teacher’s work, which the team scores using the AIW scoring criteria. The goal is for members to bring lessons that haven’t been successful with students. Having the courage to follow this guideline takes patience and trust. Likewise, teammates acclimate to offering descriptive feedback with evidence based on their AIW scores. The primary role of the AIW Coach leading this process is to ensure pilot teams adhere to the key structural components, follow rules of thumb and focus on revising lessons and improving pedagogical practice.

    To learn more download our AIW Phases Brochure
  • 3

    3. Expand

    Many education reform efforts fail because schools try to scale up too quickly. Before expanding beyond the initial small-scale pilot teams, AIW educators must learn enough and experience sufficient positive results to have confidence that expansion will succeed.

    After successful implementation on a small scale with one or a few teams in a school, the AIW lead team, consisting of both administrators and 1-2 pilot teachers, plans with their AIW Coach to add more teams. Eventually, expansion can proceed to a whole school and more schools within the district or region.

    To learn more download our AIW Phases Brochure
  • 4

    4. Integrate

    To successfully move from the Expansion Phase to fully integrating the reform within the school culture, administrators must become learners and teachers must become leaders. This allows for shared decision-making that is meaningful and appropriate for the school, as well as accommodating individual staff needs within a spectrum of proficiency.

    To learn more download our AIW Phases Brochure
  • 5

    5. Innovate

    Innovation is key to all aspects of the human experience. Education is no exception. At the Center for AIW, we pride ourselves not only on being innovative, but also on supporting AIW innovation with our partners. When we think about an innovation, the driving consideration is how it will bring us closer to our goal.

    If this sounds like a higher bar than the other AIW Phases, you are right. But here’s why: True innovation requires moving away from the status quo. For AIW Schools that have moved through all the phases of AIW reform, the most important consideration is that they are sure AIW will not get lost when incorporating a new initiative into the teaching and learning culture.

    We have also helped organizations with a strong track record and collaborative culture use AIW to improve their professional development. This is because the AIW criteria can be applied to any context with any content that requires authentic learning.

    How do you know you are ready? Regardless of your context, here are a couple considerations:

    - The decision to innovate comes from compelling data within the organization—not because the innovation is a fad or hot trend.

    - The decision-makers represent multiple perspectives and have learned to see “and/both” solutions rather than “either/or” decisions.

    In the end, the best innovations use AIW in new ways to get more learners thinking better, faster!

    To learn more download our AIW Phases Brochure

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